For those who don't turn green at the thought of riding a boat all day, a Pelagic trip is a fantastic opportunity to explore the seas for birds seldom seen from shore. Of course, passionate birders who don't have the best of "Sea Legs" always seem to join these cruises and usually pay a high price for this. You can usually recognize these folks by the 4 patches behind their ears, multiple wrist bands, and the way they nervously gnaw on saltines as the rock back and forth on the dock prior to boarding the boat. Invariably it seems these poor souls will get horribly sick before the boat gets too far from shore!
So far, I've shown a great resistance to "rail hugging" though and am always happy to have an opportunity to go offshore in search of wonders unseen. So when given the opportunity to be a leader aboard the Spacecoast Bird & Wildlife Festival annual pelagic, I gladly accepted. Especially in areas where pelagic trips are few and far between, the sense of anticipation can be quite high. You just never know what you might see.
Leatherback Sea Turtle swims under boat 1/28/08
Before long we began noticing large numbers of jellyfish. One of the guides suggested that a lot of jellies could mean Leatherback Sea Turtles, and as if summoned the 1st of 9 individual Leatherbacks was called from the bow. We would also have great views of 13 individual Loggerhead Sea Turtles, and at least 3 individual Green Sea Turtles. None on the boat could remember a better day for sighting Sea Turtles. It was a fabulous day with great folks!